Katie McMahen

 
Methods for promoting recovery of the soil food web in mine reclamation
 

Why did you decide to pursue a graduate degree?

Following my BSc I worked for 5 years in the Mount Polley Mine Environmental Department. In 2014, a tailings dam failure occurred at the mine which created a challenging reclamation project, but also a unique venue for research on ecosystem recovery. I was interested in taking advantage of this research opportunity to gain specialist knowledge in the field and to help improve mine reclamation best practices.

Why did you decide to study at UBC?

I chose UBC because it is a top research university and is located near my study site. Vancouver's great access to the outdoors was also a draw.

What was the best surprise about UBC or life in Vancouver?

You can bike commute year-round! Although, I recommend investing in some decent rain gear. An added perk is that biking is usually faster than driving or transit.

What do you like to do for fun or relaxation?

Get outside! I enjoy mountain biking, hiking, camping, skiing, and playing soccer in my spare time. I also like spending time with friends and family, making and eating yummy food (especially dessert), and down time with a good book.

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Build a community. The people around you will be a support network, help you fix your broken R code, convince you to take a break from work to enjoy lunch outside in the sun and maybe even become lifelong friends and collaborators.